Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interview with Book Marketing Expert and Author JOHN KREMER

John Kremer is an acknowledged expert on book publishing and marketing. Besides being the owner of a publishing company (Open Horizons in Taos, New Mexico), he is the editor of the Book Marketing Tip of the Week newsletter.

John is the author of a number of books on publishing and marketing, including 1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers (6th Edition), The Complete Direct Marketing Sourcebook, High Impact Marketing on a Low Impact Budget, and Celebrate Today. He has also designed the Do-It-Yourself Book Publicity Kit, Book Publishing Reports on CD-Rom, and Book Marketing Mini-Book series.

He has been interviewed by or featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Playboy, Scientific American, Chicago Tribune, Bottom Line/Personal, Sharing Ideas, Writer's Digest, DM News, Games, Foreword, Publishers Weekly, Gift & Decorative Accessories, Book Business, Booklist, Children's Book Insider, Freelance Writers Report, Los Angeles Reader, and many other publications as well as more than 200 radio shows around the country. Online publications include Marketing Sherpa, BookHitch.com, Small Press Blog, Blogcritics.org, Principled Profit, The Writing Life, and more.

Our Interview:

** I know about your accomplishments in Publishing and Marketing, but what's your background? How did you end up an expert in these fields?

I became an expert by doing. I started by helping a friend market his product in the toy and gift field. Then started my own publishing company. As I established that company, I found a big lack of information on how to market your books. So I created that information.

** You've had to keep up with the rapid changes in the industry. How do you do that and find time for all aspects of your career: newsletters, courses, workshops, not to mention your book projects?

I work hard and play hard. If you organize your time, you can usually get a lot done, both in research and in doing. I try to balance those two activities along with operating a business and responding to customers. It's always a challenge, but stick to your priorities and you'll be okay.

** Did you always want to be a marketing guru? Who mentored your love for this business? Or did fate intervene?

I did not always want to be a marketing guru. But I have wanted to be a writer since the 8th grade. I didn't really have a mentor in this business, at least not a personal mentor. I have had many mentors via reading books.

Most of what I've done and become has been in response to what people have asked me to do. When someone has a question, I have a new blog post, ezine item, chapter for a book, or a new speech.

** I think I read it in Forbes Magazine that it isn't about how smart you are, but who you surround yourself with. Have you always been surrounded by like-minded people? Or did you have to learn the hard way, by making mistakes?

I surround myself with good people via reading books, reading magazines and newsletters, attending conferences, and lately, of course, visiting great websites and following useful blogs. I try not to learn by making mistakes (although I have done plenty of learning that way, alas).

** Book marketing, writing, publishing, writing, promos, publicity, to name a few, what's your favourite hat?

My favorite hat is writing. After that, I enjoy consulting and speaking. I love sharing what I've learned and experienced with others. I like helping people.

** Recently, Charlie Rose interviewed Peter Kaplan, former EIC of the New York Observer. He had some exciting things to say about ebooks, publishing and the future of communications. Do you share that excitement? Why?

I've always had excitement for publishing in all its forms. I loved all the book publishing changes that have occurred over the years: the growth of short-run book printers, the rise of independent distributors, the formation of associations for indie publishers, the new books and services that have come out to help new authors and self-publishers, the Internet, print-on-demand technology, ebooks, and the multimedia formats that will be the true future of publishing information and entertainment.

When the Internet first started becoming a fad back in 1994, I gave away those ubiquitous AOL disks just to get people online. The Internet has made it possible to reach people all over the world and target the people who would really be interested in your book. The Internet has done more than anything else to level the playing field for new publishers and authors.

** New writers today face unexplored facets of publishing and many of them won't survive because they can't keep up to the changing times; even those who would otherwise be destined to be literary greats. Do you think that's true? And if so, what can they do to change that sentence?

I think the changes in today's world has made it more possible for a new author to stand out, to reach his or her audience, and to sell tons of books. But, if you are not interested in learning everything you can about building relationships online, you will fall by the wayside. That would be sad, since it is so easy to build relationships online and reach far more people than any author ever could before.

** What makes a good marketeer? CEO? Or publishing giant?

All of marketing, publishing, and managing really boils down to one thing: creating and nurturing relationships. If you can do that, you can be successful in writing, publishing, and selling your book. And creating relationships, in turn, boils down to one thing: making friends.

** When asked what he feared, Bill Gates said it was the fellow in his garage coming up with the next best thing. Do you ever fear that kind of unknown competitor?

I have no competitors so I fear none. I don't do anything unless it's the best. If you're the best, you really have no competitors. Now I might be deluded in how good I am, but I will do my darnest to get you to share in my delusion. If you can define how what you do is better than what someone else does (whether your book is bigger, shorter, better, more entertaining, or whatever), then you can sell your book to an audience eager for what you have to offer.

** You've accomplished a lot, John. Are you content with your dreams? Or are you the man who will never stop?

Never content. Always doing something more. Will stop five days after I die. But what I create will go on for a long, long time still helping people, educating them, entertaining them.

-- John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books (http://www.bookmarket.com) and developer of the Ten Million Eyeballs Internet marketing program (http://www.TenMillionEyeballs.com).


  1. Thanks, John. I've found your work helpful as I promote my new book, The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make a Change–and When to Let Go (Tarcher/Penguin). Since my first book (which went out of print), I've realized how much persistence is required, especially when there isn't a big publicity budget. As someone who writes about wisdom, though, I have a slightly different take on contentment. I think it's possible to be content with where we are and what we've done and still strive to keep going and improve.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Thank you for stopping by, Eileen. Your comment is appreciated. Merry Christmas.

  4. John Kremer is without a doubt one of the best minds out there when it comes to marketing and publishing your book. His own book; "1001 Ways" became my source while working on our first publication; Bathhouse Row~We Bathe The World. He helped me take a book considered to have just a regional focus to starting my own publishing company and producing an award winning book. We met at a Mega Book University Seminar and he had time to make personal suggestions. After receiving publishing and marketing email newsletters for years from many people, John Kremer's emails are the ones I open, study and save for future reference. Bravo John for your professionalism and down to earth wisdom! D.P. Carroll, Arkansas

  5. Wow, what a nice recommendation, Deborah. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

  6. John has some good basic words of wisdom that apply to far more than just the world of publishing. Work hard and play hard, organize your time, have excitement for what you do, create and nurture relationships -- all good advice for success in whatever you undertake. Thanks for an interesting interview. :)

  7. Thank you for commenting, Carol. It's gratifying knowing I'm not alone in my appreciation for good mentors.

  8. Hi Joylene - You do a pretty good interview.

    Timely stuff - I'm currently so buried (& on the road AGAIN) that I've decided to dump the marketing & PR for the 2nd book onto someone else. I'll write 'em - they can promote & sell 'em. Waiting on a proposal. Impossible being away so much. A year long gig in Miami is looming large right now & I don't wanna go.

  9. Hi Dave. I feel bad about you having to go to Miami. Yes, I do. It's -30 C here. It must be terrible existing in all that heat.

    Best of luck finding someone else to market your book. You're my hero.

  10. I've been receiving the newsletter for ages and can attest to what everybody is saying: John Kremer's book is a must have for every writer.

  11. Thanks for sharing, Jonathan. I've got John's book and also found it invaluable.

  12. Jolene, first, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. I found your blog through John Kremer's newsletter.

    I appreciate the precision of your questions and thank John for giving more wisdom and insight into the book marketing field.

    It just shows, once again, that John is more than a maven in this field, he lives by what he shares and I have been a beneficiary of that by subscribing to his newsletter.

    We can lose sight in the words we write and forget the importance of connecting with "one person at a time..." This hones in on that sacred commitment to the process.

    It's like a piec eof your own tagline Jolene... one moment at a time.

    I thank you both for your generosity.

  13. Thanks everyone for your comments so far. Much appreciated. I enjoyed doing this interview.

    Eileen . . . I am perfectly happy where I am and with what I have done, but that will never stop me from moving forward and doing more.

    It also, of course, doesn't stop me from walking with my dogs and wife every day. We try to spend an hour every day walking the dirt roads (now snow-packed) on the mountainside where we live.

  14. Lavish, thanks so much for stopping by. This writer appreciates your sentiments.

    John, it's been a pleasure.

    Merry Christmas.

  15. Excellent interview. I've been reading John's newsletter for years, but i never thought of him as an actual being with a life. He walks with his wife and dog every day. That's kind of cool.

  16. Fascinating interview! I love learning how the experts got where they are. Thanks for sharing, John.


  17. Thanks, Brett. And thank you too, Karen and Robyn. You're welcome. Anytime.

  18. Another great interview, Joylene! You ask such interesting questions that you elicit interesting responses.


Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.